Goat Cheese with Pumpkin Seed Brittle on Beetroot Carpaccio & Mango Salsa

Last week we had our annual office team dinner, and as is typical when you book for larger groups at a German restaurant we agreed to have three starters and three main courses to choose from to make it easier for the restaurant.

The starter I chose was Goat Cheese with Pumpkin Seed Brittle on Beetroot Carpaccio. Even as I read that I was thinking about making this at home. On our night out this tasted fantastic, and I went shopping the next day to buy all the ingredients.

Making this dish is really easy, although it took two attempts to get the consistency of the pumpkin seed brittle right. It looks a little too dark and burnt in the pictures, but it tasted almost exactly as it did at the restaurant.

What I really like about this starter – apart from the fact that it only takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook this* – is that the down to earth taste of the beetroot, mixed with the mild but slightly tangy goat cheese, the sweet brittle and the spicy mango salsa were like a little joyride for my taste buds.

*That doesn’t include cooking the beetroot – but you can do that in advance, e.g. the day/night before.

If there’s anything I feel needs improving the next time I make this, it’s the method of making the pumpkin seed brittle. My first attempt was to set the goat cheese on a baking sheet, sprinkle it with light cane sugar and pumpkin seeds, and put it in the oven to grill. The result was that the cheese was done in 5 minutes, but the sugar hadn’t melted yet. On the second try, the result of which you can see in the pics, I grilled the goat cheese for about 7 minutes while caramelising the sugar with the pumpkin seeds in a pan. It was a little difficult to transfer it onto the cheese when it was done, and it doesn’t look very sophisticated. The instructions in the recipe below will tell you how I intend to do it next time.

Goat Cheese with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
on Beetroot Carpaccio & Mango Salsa

1 piece of goat cheese, with rind
1 small beetroot
3 tbsp brown sugar
handful pumpkin seeds
¼ sweet onion
½ small mango
½ red chili
a few mint leaves

1 serving

Cook beetroot for 45 minutes. In the meantime, make the salsa by finely dicing the onion, dicing the mango, and chopping the mint leaves. Mix everything together in a small bowl. When the beetroot is done, let it cool down in cold water for about 15 minutes.

Dry-fry the pumpkin seeds in a non-stick pan for a few minutes but don’t let them brown. Then spread them out in a circle on a piece of baking paper, making the circle about as big as your piece of goat cheese. In a non-stick pan, heat the sugar. When it’s all melted but before it gets too dark, pour it over the pumpkin seeds, then let cool.

Peel the beetroot (wearing rubber gloves!), finely slice it, and arrange slices on a plate by making a circle with the slices overlapping.

Grill the goat cheese at 220°C /425°F for 5 – 7 minutes until it just shows signs of melting. Remove from oven and place in the middle of the beetroot carpaccio. Place pumpkin seed brittle on top of the goat cheese. With a very small ice cream scoop or a spoon, arrange the mango salsa around or next to it.